Some of the questions that I get asked most often as a photographer are “what camera do you shoot with?”, “what lenses do you use?” and “what are your favorite camera lenses/what do you use them for?” So, I am hoping that this post will answer ALL of those questions (and more!!) by walking through what’s in my camera bag, what I use each lens for, why they’re important and then walking through an engagement session where I used each lens at least once!
I shoot with two Canon 5D Mark iii cameras. I use 5 lenses, 4 prime lenses (with a set focal length that doesn’t zoom in or out) and one telephoto lens (a lens that can zoom pretty far and change focal lengths). I carry all of my equipment in the Kamrette Lyra Backpack and use Lexar Professional CF Memory Cards that read at least 120 MB per second! I also have two 600 flashes, a Rogue FlashBender2, a few reflectors and various other studio equipment that I may blog about another day! I will list the lenses in order of focal length:
This 35mm lens is one of my four prime lenses and I absolutely love it! Personally, this lens is probably the second most used prime lens in my bag. It’s FLAWLESS and amazingly sharp + fast and creates amazing results every time! There is only a tiny, tiny bit of distortion if the lens is used up-close…but nothing to complain about! I love using this lens to capture wide shots of cool landscapes or architecture in the background. All-in-all, this lens is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it!
Oh goodness…I don’t think I can say enough good things about this lens!! I use this lens for EVERYTHING and it is literally like my baby. It is super sharp and super fast! It’s the perfect focal length for portraits of all kinds (couple, seniors, family, etc) and can be used for just about anything. It’s almost considered the “standard” portrait lens in the photography world, and it definitely needs to be added to your bag if it isn’t already there! I have previously used the 1.8 version of this lens (less than $200!!) and it is wonderful as well, especially for beginners! This lens is probably the lens most frequently used on my camera (almost neck-and-neck with my 35mm 1.4) it’s the bomb!
This lens is one of the most expensive + bulky lenses in my bag…but it is SO. WORTH IT. I saved and waited and saved and waited and saved some more for this lens after hearing so many rave reviews…and it lived up to every standard and then some! It produces the most CREAMY bokeh (that may sound weird…you’ll understand as soon as you use it!!) and it’s focus is absolutely amazing! It’s not the fastest of lenses when it comes to focusing, so I wouldn’t recommend it for small children or sports photography, but it is the DREAM lens for portraits! I have also used the 1.8 version of this lens, and it is another wonderful lens to have in your bag as a beginner with a much less intimidating price tag!
This marco lens it the only one I have ever owned, and I wouldn’t want to own any other!! I use this baby for all of my ring shots, occasional detail close-ups, and even some portraits! It has GREAT focus and works fabulously on manual for ring shot purposes. I have never had an issue with this lens, and it’s definitely a must-have for all wedding photogs!
This lens is actually my oldest lens in my bag and I’ve used it for at least 5 years and is still phenomenal! It is definitely the lens that I look LEAST forward to using and I rarely use it, just because of its sheer size and weight, but I still love the results!! I use it mostly for surprise proposals but I use to use it a LOT for sports events years ago. It has super-quick focus and I love the variety I can achieve in such a short time because of the telephoto zoom. For surprise proposals when I can’t move much, this lens comes in handy for sure! It’s a great lens to have in your bag as a wedding photographer so that you can capture gorgeous ceremony shots from far away!
I try my best to switch lenses as much as possible during every shoot, because it gives a gallery even more variety than it would already have! So, I start every session with my 50mm 1.2 and then switch it to the 85mm for some more romantic portraits. Then, I continue to switch back and forth from my 35mm, 50mm and 85mm to get a variety of looks throughout the session! While my couples are changing outfits during their engagement sessions, I pull out my 100mm macro to grab ring shots and detail shots of our location!
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